Thursday 22 March 2018

Off the ball: Canavan insight shines above waffle

Stephen Cluxton of Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Stephen Cluxton of Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ger Gilroy

The pre-match talk ahead of Kerry-Dublin was largely about Kerry's intensity and hunger.

The honest pundits were happy to explain they didn't know how Kerry might be able to beat the Dubs since we haven't seen anyone do it in a meaningful game since Donegal managed it two years ago.

They speculated intelligently but no-one built the brick-by-brick analysis to show a realistic pathway to victory. Yerra, it'll be intense and we're hungry and shut up with the questions was the other school of punditry.

Yet after the game there was brilliant analysis done by Peter Canavan explaining that Kerry's full-court press on the Stephen Cluxton kick-out that caused the five minutes of madness at the end of the first half was an idea sampled from the Australian Rules team that played Ireland last year.

Go zonal, press up and leave the Dublin forwards unmarked near your own goal, the ball will never reach them. If they come deep you're clogging the game up in midfield and they're unlikely to score a goal from that distance.

Read more: Off the Ball: McGinley has power to restore integrity

Many analysts and pundits spotted the full-court press, but the nugget linking it to the International Rules game was great. More please.

This time around even some of the best pundits are telling us it'll be the Mayo mindset that might win it for them, which is really a clunky synonym for hunger.

If they go out and 'think' their way into the game, really 'feel' it, they might be able to win.

Meh. We're still starved of the knowlegable insider explaining what the Mayo kick-out strategy must be, how it worked two years ago, what Dublin can do to counter-act it and why they were able to get a run on Dublin during that drawn game in Croker.

There's always a hunger for proper discussion of formations, tactics and roles in soccer and likewise as we seek to find the detail of what might work to dethrone the Dubs. Mayo's hunger or mindset alone won't explain it.

Irish Independent

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